After coming home with a bag of freshly harvested baby artichokes from Palo Alto Farmer’s Market last Sunday, I was reminded that some fresh produce still remains seasonal. With year-round access to our favorite fruits and vegetables, sometimes remembering whats in and out of season can be a little challenging. Strolling through the Farmer’s market was a lovely way to reconnect with nature’s seasonal gifts, the farmers, and sunshine. While remembering that produce like fava beans, cherries, peaches, fresh peas and artichokes don’t come by daily. Seasonal produce still exist!
Artichokes, the official vegetable of California, is one that I look forward to each spring. What I appreciate about this flowering bud is that it fosters mindful eating—effortlessly. Simply by scraping each petal one by one, for a hint of what is soon to come, the eating process slows down. An inherent gift the artichoke naturally serves up to reach its’ creamy, delicious heart. How sweet is that?
Whether her steamed, grilled or baked—its all about getting to the budding heart. This past Sunday, I tried a slight variation with my typical artichoke dipping sauce. Caramelizing paper-thin garlic slices in ghee until they were toasty and crispy. Along with a little crunch, the toasty flavor intensified the ghee’s butteriness. While decreasing the garlic’s acidity. The extra cook time, also reduced the lingering garlic taste. Without losing that “oh so garlicky” flavor we love. Happy Eating! Happy Digesting!
Artichokes + Ayurveda
Rich in fiber, artichokes fall under the astringent and bitter tastes. With light and dry qualities, these low-caloric buds are also cooling in nature. A diuretic, artichokes are rich in the air element (along with a little earth). Based on their tastes, artichokes aid in a natural cleansing action. An antidote for spring imbalances, these buds help the body to let go of the excess earth and water elements accumulated from the prior season.
Through their taste and qualities, we can say artichokes lean towards a vata constitution. From this perspective, cooking them with a vata pacifying approach can bring balance. In adding counterbalancing tastes like a dose of healthy fat to balance the drying quality and some pungent sour and salty tastes to add a little heat. Eating well-balanced food helps to foster balance within us. Happy Eating! Happy Digesting!
Artichokes with Ghee & Sumac
a simple, recipe with a ghee & tangy sumac based dipping sauce with toasted garlic
- 4 artichokes
- 2-3 peppercorns whole
- 2 cloves
- 1 star anise 1 petal
- sea or rock salt to taste
Dipping Sauce or Dressing
- 3 tbsp ghee, coconut or olive oil melted
- 1/4 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 1 clove garlic sliced paper-thin
- 1 lemon juice + zest
- 1/2 tsp sumac
- rock, sea or herbal salt to taste
Wash artichokes and trim the stem so they sit up on a plate. Snip sharp or spiky tips using kitchen shears. With a serrated knife cut off top 1/4 – 1/3 of artichoke, if needed. Cut the artichoke in half (lengthwise) or leave whole.
In a 4-6 quart pot, add about 2 inches of water, cloves, peppercorns, 1 petal of the star anise, salt and artichokes to the pot. If you have a steam basket place it in the pot as well. Cover and bring the water to a boil. (steam basket is not needed). Steam until the heart is tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, and the inner leaves pull off easily. About 10-20 mins depending on the artichoke’s size. Add additional water if needed.
Using a pair of tongs, remove the artichokes from the pot. Slice artichokes in half once slightly cooled, if they were not pre-halved prior to steaming. set aside
Over medium heat, in a small pot, add the ghee, coconut or olive oil. Once warm, add the paper-thin slices of garlic. Let the garlic toast until the slivers are light brown. Turn off the heat, add the pepper and continue to cook on the stove until the slices turn a light amber in color. Remove from stovetop and add the lemon juice and sumac. Garlic slivers can also be crushed slightly into the liquid for an even flavor
Drizzle mixture over plated artichokes and serve warm or use as a dipping sauce.
- If using olive oil, you may want to toast the garlic in another small amount of oil and drizzle unheated olive oil on top for optimum flavor.
- More ghee or oil may be needed depending on artichoke size and personal taste.
- A steamer is not necessary. Use the recommended amount of water in the pot for practically the same results.
- If using a steamer, more water may be needed.